Compton Avenue Traffic Calming Experiment

A catch-all forum for urban discussion. If it doesn't fit elsewhere, post here.
The Slay balls on Compton are cracking me up. Now a neighbor crocheted a hat for one.

https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblo ... iant-balls

I'm a big fan of these because they seem to be working and providing driving lessons for some.

If you are opposed to these or hate them for some reason, I'd like to ask you a series of 5 progressive "why" questions (a Six Sigma methodology) to get to the core of why people don't like these things. If you are willing, please DM me and I can start the process, it can happen over text messages and responses will be anonymous.

Thanks - Mark
They're great! Except for 1 of them: the one in the northeast corner of Compton and Lafayette is just inside the traffic lane for northbound Compton. Literally impossible to turn right from Lafayette to Compton without swinging across the yellow line and getting in the way of traffic headed south on Compton.
I actually like this idea.

In on of the articles Grand Avenues congestion is blamed for the uptick in speed and use of Compton. They blame Grand's congestion on the fact that is bikeable and walkable.

Seems to me if you want to slow down the traffic on Compton the street needs to be made more walkable and bikeable. And you can still keep the huge balls.
BellaVilla wrote: I actually like this idea.

In on of the articles Grand Avenues congestion is blamed for the uptick in speed and use of Compton. They blame Grand's congestion on the fact that is bikeable and walkable.

Seems to me if you want to slow down the traffic on Compton the street needs to be made more walkable and bikeable. And you can still keep the huge balls.
I drive Grand many days, often between five and six thirty pm. There's a little congestion south of Arsenal continuing intermittently as far as maybe Chippewa. But that seems less than what you see between roughly 40 and continuing to Lindell in both directions. Or even southbound between about Chouteau or so and 44. While you might think the southbound congestion around Arsenal is the result of lane restrictions I don't see how you could say that about what you find heading into 44 or in Midtown. Honestly, it's just traffic. Grand is busy. There's going to be a little congestion. And given that I can reliably drive from the south bloody end of the thing all the way to Midtown in thirty minutes during rush hour every day I fail to see where the problem is.

That said, traffic calming works. Yes, Grand is a more pleasant place to walk in the two lane stretch. People drive . . . marginally more politely there. (Marginally. Very marginally. But something is surely needed to fix the unsignalized crosswalks.)

Yes, Compton has balls. Do the balls work? Probably, at a guess. They should work at least as well as any other traffic calming. Good bumpouts, chicanes, lane restrictions, textured pavements at crosswalks, and so forth are great things. The balls are fine by me, if a little unattractive. I'd love to see a way to make them prettier. But . . . if they work, better that than the Schoemel planters just closing roads. (Or ball-blocked roads, for that matter. Or even artistically blocked roads.)

Open all the roads. Make them all slower, lane restricted, bumped, calmed, and textured. Let people drive on all of them. Slowly. Spread the traffic out and structurally slow it down. Should be better for everyone. And if you can't drive any faster than a cyclist anyway who needs bike lanes. There was a thread on here a while back that linked to an article that suggested that bike lanes are most useful when a road most resembles a highway and they actually become counter-productive on smaller neighborhood streets. Compton's a neighborhood street. Structurally limit it to a relatively continuous twenty and you should solve all problems. There will be room for broad sidewalks and with big bumpouts (and maybe balls) so it should be plenty pedestrian friendly. Problem solved. Keep the balls. But . . . attractive balls would be nice. Slay has some bland ass balls. (Or Ingracia in this case.) How about flowers? Just . . . not in concrete sewer pipe sections.

And if a moving truck driver can't figure out how to get through have someone escort them. There are ways to do this. There's training. It's on your CDL test. Heck, just follow a good route. Who goes into something like that without scouting it out in advance anyway?

As I think back to some of the folks I used to drive with . . . never mind. There will be problems. There always will. There's no fixing stupid. Like that dude over there. Oh, wait, is that a mirror? Nuts.
I've grown more comfortable with it, but I don't particularly enjoy making my usual right turn from Compton onto Arsenal with the Slay Balls. I can probably do it with out hitting a ball or going into the other lane—in fact, I'm pretty sure I accomplish both every time. But I get a little nervous about it each time, especially when there is another car in that opposite lane.

That's my only complaint though. I don't really mind them, and I support the purpose of them.
jstriebel wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:18 am
But I get a little nervous about it each time
That's kind of the point, after-all. Uncertainty theoretically slows people down.
MattnSTL wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:13 am
jstriebel wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:18 am
But I get a little nervous about it each time
That's kind of the point, after-all. Uncertainty theoretically slows people down.
Right. But the balls are so low that I can't actually see them when I'm making my turn, so it's not just uncertainty there's always a little bit of "hope I made it this time" as I'm going through.

Basically, I'm willing to deal with them for the benefits, but I wish we could have afforded a more legitimate traffic calming solution like curb bump outs.
The visibility from a higher vehicle does sound like a legitimate concern. Would be worth considering a way to make them more visible vertically without obscuring traffic. Poles. Or tall think flowers or something. Low planters with tall flowers that don't block line of sight, maybe. Or the right sort of street tree, maybe? Affordabiity is an issue, I suppose, but if this becomes a permanent and desirable program hopefully we can afford something better for a real fix.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:54 pm
The visibility from a higher vehicle does sound like a legitimate concern. Would be worth considering a way to make them more visible vertically without obscuring traffic. Poles. Or tall think flowers or something. Low planters with tall flowers that don't block line of sight, maybe. Or the right sort of street tree, maybe? Affordabiity is an issue, I suppose, but if this becomes a permanent and desirable program hopefully we can afford something better for a real fix.
From what I understand, this is a feature not a bug: a side objective of the balls was to prevent heavy vehicle traffic on Compton (something about trucks using Compton to bypass traffic in parallel streets). Not ideal when it comes to emergency vehicles but that would be a situation in which regular traffic moves away to give them right of pass anyway.
kipfilet wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:26 pm
From what I understand, this is a feature not a bug: a side objective of the balls was to prevent heavy vehicle traffic on Compton (something about trucks using Compton to bypass traffic in parallel streets). Not ideal when it comes to emergency vehicles but that would be a situation in which regular traffic moves away to give them right of pass anyway.
I'm not necessarily thinking commercial vehicles. I was responding to what jstreibel had said, and I'd gotten the impression they were talking about a personal vehicle. Maybe a pickup or an SUV. Won't say I like that kind of vehicle myself, but lots of people do and I'm sympathetic to folks having a hard time driving in their own neighborhoods. I think the narrowing and slowing will be quite sufficient to keep commercial vehicles off the street, even if you can actually see the things while making a right in your Suburban.
I came across these for the first time this week and felt they took up too much space. My preference for traffic calming devices are a combination of stone rumble strips set in pavement that I have seen in Tower Grove South and the concrete pipe roundabouts that Tower Grove East uses. I would love a combination of both in my neighborhood instead of so many stop signs.
^^ agreed on the roundabouts. if we could find a cost effective + aesthetically pleasing + easily replaceable (b/c they'll be demolished in short order) roundabout implementation for virtually every intersection that would be ideal.
A couple traffic circles in Seattle
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